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Public Observatory

Amazing views of the Universe, including images from telescopes at the Smithsonian Public Observatory at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC | @SIObservatory | airandspace.si.edu/POP


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Public Observatory

Public Observatory

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Saturn's Great White Spots are storms that can encircle the planet. Image by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

We have a whole basket of different views of the Sun at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, at the National Air and Space Museum. These images, from August 14, 2013, were taken with three different telescopes, and then warped into egg shapes and rotated. Follow the link for the original images.

This image is just magnificent!!! Astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured this photo of the International Space Station as it passed in front of the Sun on March 20, 2015, right in the middle of a solar eclipse! What are the odds??

Black holes can't decide: their gravity pulls inward, but fierce winds push outward. This is a new joint discovery by NASA and ESA telescopes.

Visitors to the Public Observatory on Feb 4, 2015 got a triple treat: a large filament, a minor solar flare, and a dramatic prominence eruption! Credit Smithsonian staff.

Hubble Sees A Smiling Lens | NASA

Cosmic jaw-droppers! Smithsonian Magazine's picks for best space images of the week include this artist's rendition of a huge ring system, including gaps, around a giant exoplanet. Credit: Ron Miller.

"Will the real monster black hole please stand up?" This image from NASA's NuSTAR reveals that in the colliding galaxy pair Arp 299, only one of the galaxies’ supermassive black holes is actively “feeding” on gas. In the center panel, the NuSTAR high-energy X-ray data appear in various colors overlaid on a visible-light image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The panel on the left shows the NuSTAR data alone, while the visible-light image is on the far right. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

This artist's depiction shows a gas giant planet rising over the horizon of an alien waterworld. New research shows that oceans on super-Earths, once established, can last for billions of years. (Image by David A. Aguilar)

Retro travel posters from NASA JPL's "Exoplanet Travel Bureau," based on real exoplanets discovered by Kepler. "Relax on Kepler-16b, where your shadow always has company!"

John Chumack of Yellow Springs, Ohio captured this lovely image of Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 with a telescope and digital camera. Note the green glow around the nucleus, and the delicate streamers of its tail. With a dark sky, the comet is visible to the naked eye or with binoculars. Observers in the northern hemisphere should look just below Orion.

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Identifies Links in Chain Leading to Atmospheric Loss. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Astronomers have captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star, HL Tau, using the new high-resolution capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Multiple rings and gaps in the disk around the star herald the presence of emerging planets. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

The biggest sunspot in 25 years put on a glorious show of coronal loops as it rotated out of view. It may survive until it rotates back into view next week. This view from NASA's space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory combines two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.

"Nultifarious Night Above The Lauder" taken in New Zealand by Petr Horálek. In this multifarious image, look for the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, a column of pale zodiacal light, green and red southern aurorae, and green lidar beams from NIWA that measure the ozone layer.

Incoming! A strong solar flare from sunspot AR2158 launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth, as photographed in this video from NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The impact is likely to cause auroras by this weekend. Via SpaceWeather.com.

Can you spot the skinny crescent Moon just above the horizon? The other two celestial objects are Venus and Jupiter. Photo by Pete Lawrence on Sunday, August 24, 2014.

This was our view of the Sun on August 14, 2014 through the calcium-k telescope. It just so happens that we looked at the Sun exactly one year earlier through the same telescope, and the differences we see can tell us a lot.

Deimos, Moon of Mars, discovered 137 years ago today. Image by NASA's HiRISE.

Inspiring Photos of the Biggest, Brightest Supermoon of 2014 | Science | Smithsonian

A View to Remember: The Eastern Seaboard from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

A hellacious two weeks on Jupiter's moon Io. Image by Imke de Pater and Katherine de Kleer, UC Berkeley.

Why the Dinosaurs Could Have Had a Chance of Surviving the Asteroid Strike | Smithsonian. Credit: Eric Long, James Di Loreto, Donald E. Hurlbert, and Brittany M. Hance.

This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus. To the surprise of astronomers, they have found much less water vapor in the hot world’s atmosphere than standard planet-formation models predict. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC)

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Sets Off-World Driving Record. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS